NHL Puck Line Betting Strategy
We touched on puck line betting in our introduction to NHL betting, but this unique betting type for NHL deserves a separate article that is more in-depth. Puck lines are essentially a spread betting variant of NHL wagering and is a direct cousin of MLB runlines. NHL Puck line betting is a point spreads where the line is always +/- 1.5.
It works as an advantage for the game’s underdog by leveling the playing field between both NHL hockey teams. Typical or standard NHL betting involves a moneyline, where bettors simply pick the team that they think will win outright. Pucklines introduce the spreading element but still have attached moneyline odds.
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NHL Puck Line Bet – Explained
To see the difference between a typical moneyline bet and a puck line market, let’s take a look at sample NHL money line wager.
- Pittsburgh Penguins (+120)
- Philadelphia Flyers (–140)
As you can see, the Flyers are the favorites in this contest against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Here are the odds that we might see on the same game with a puck line wager.
- Pittsburgh Penguins +1.5 (-180)
- Philadelphia Flyers -1.5 (+160)
Okay, so the odds have changed quite a bit. Many players get confused by puck line odds because the favorite actually becomes the underdog and vice versa, in terms of moneyline odds. Of course, that isn’t the case because they are laying -1.5 goals. However, we can understand why a team that was previously -140 is now +160 might be confusing to some, despite the fact that they are -1.5 goals. Instead of wagering $140 to win $100, bettors are now betting $100 to win $160. Penguins’ bettors will be getting +1.5 goals, but will wager $180 to win $100.
Pucklines will always come with have a 0.5 or half-point as to prevent pushes. The favorite must win by 2 goals to cover the spread. Many betting sites will offer -2.5 puck lines in some cases or alternative puck lines where the moneyline underdog is laying goals for a high odds underdog wager.
WHEN TO BET THE PUCKLINE
There are times when betting the puckline makes more sense than taking the moneyline or making a totals bet on a hockey game. If there is a clear favorite and little value on the underdog, a puck line bet could possibly earn you more profit. By betting on the favorite to win by two or more goals, you can get the likely winner of the game at a better price. Check the best NHL betting sites ranking for a sportbook to place your puckline bets.
Did you know? NHL bettors can parlay their puck line bets. A parlay combines two or more individual wagers into one bet. In a hockey parlay bet you would add a puck line bet on a team to win by two or more goals and/or any other type of hockey bet. In order for your parlay bet to win, all bets on the ticket need to win.
How To Bet Using NHL Puck Line Strategy
Puck lines are hockey’s way of using point spreads. In football, you might find a +/- 6 ½ point spread, but in the NHL, you will always find spreads of +/- 1 ½. Since the NHL commonly has close games, even between the best and worst teams, puck lines are the way to bet on a team with or against a spread. If you know how to use them, they can be a great NHL betting strategy.
- Find NHL Game – The first step you want to take is to find a couple games to bet the puck line on. You are just looking at all the matchups and trying to decide which ones may have some value on betting the puck lines. Normally you will find the most value in betting on a team to win by more than the puck line. It is in that line, that you will typically find the most value. If a team is listed as -1 ½ +205 and the other team is listed as +1 ½ -245, then the value is in the team favored to win.
- Research The Teams -The key is to look at their previous matchups with the team they are about to face and their recent play over the last few games. Another thing you want to look closer at before betting on a matchup is a team’s injury list. Finally, check the goalies that each team has in net. Look carefully at the goaltender’s recent play and overall play on the season.
- Evaluate Line Movement – You will want to check before betting on the puck line the movement in the money line. The moneyline will always move a little bit up or down before a game as bets come in from one side or another, but any large movement in the line typically has a reason behind it worth finding out.
- Look For +EV Wagers – One of the best ways to learn how to bet on the NHL is to watch carefully for mistakes in the lines. Since the NHL is not watched as heavily as other sports, you will find weak lines all over the place. The key is finding the weak lines and exploiting them. Look for a home team that is a large underdog, or a rivalry match that is heavy in odds on one side. Pay attention to how teams are doing before their upcoming matchup.
- NHL Line Shopping – Once you have gone through the earlier steps then all you need to do is line shop. Visit multiple betting sites and figure out which one has the best-valued bet. Compare NHL betting sites on both their money lines and puck lines, to see if any sites are making any mistakes.
- Place Your Puck Line Bet – Once you have found the best puck line for the game you want to bet on, all you need to do is place your bet. In order to avoid any mistakes, when you get your betting slip, double check to make sure they are all the bets you want to place. Once you have confirmed the bets you want to place, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the hockey game.
Puck Line Betting Strategies In NHL
Puck lines have become extremely popular since their introduction into hockey betting markets. They’re awesome alternatives to traditional moneyline wagers and can be strong bets if used in the right spots.
One of the reasons that underdogs have much steeper moneyline odds with puck lines is that these bets are automatic winners if the games go to overtime. Since the favorite must win by two goals, a puck line bet on an underdog is an automatic winner if the game goes to the extra period. However, favorites benefit from this as well if they are up by one or two goals late. NHL teams pull their goalies late in games if they are losing, which opens up empty netter opportunities for the opposites. The one goal lead at the end of games can often turn into two goals if a goalie is pulled.
Puckline betting makes a ton of sense, particularly when there is large moneyline favorite on the board who you think might win by several goals. By wagering on the favorite to win on the puck line, you can get a reduced price on your bet. There is less value for underdogs on puck lines, but players may still be able to find +EV situations if they line shop extensively.
NHL Puck Line Bets Payouts
Betting on NHL puck lines is very similar to betting on a spread in a NBA or NFL game. It has to stay at a much smaller number because of the number of goals scored in a hockey game. Even thou, it is on a much smaller scale the payouts in hockey puck line bets can be better than in NFL or NBA. Here are some examples of these NHL bet payouts.
If you bet $100 on the Toronto Maple Leafs -1 ½ +246 against the San Jose Sharks and the game finished with a final score of 5-2 in favor of the Maple Leafs, you would have made a profitable NHL bet. You would have won $246 with your $100 bet. Hockey games are not always this predictable though. Say one of those goals was an empty-netter and instead of allowing Toronto to score on the empty net, San Jose scores a goal to pull it to a one-goal game.
Suddenly, the game finished 4-3, which is not enough to cover the 1 ½ point puck line spread. Now you just lost your $100 on a simple swing. The NHL is filled with these, but part of that make betting on it so much fun. It could be a nail-biter until the very end, but a simple empty net goal could win your bet. To learn more about betting on hockey read our NHL Online Betting Guide.
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